Funeral arrangements for evangelist Billy Graham are set, public viewing scheduled

Famed evangelist the Rev. Billy Graham, who counseled several presidents and preached to millions of people worldwide, died Wednesday, according to the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. He was 99. Funeral arrangements have now been finalized and a public viewing is scheduled for early next week.


  1. Family members told WSOCTV that Graham died around 7:45 a.m. Wednesday at his home in Montreat, North Carolina. He long suffered from cancer, pneumonia and other ailments, according to the Associated Press.

    "We were expecting him to reach 100, but it was just God's time," Graham's nephew, Mel Graham, told WSOCTV. "It's quite the celebration in heaven today, with Uncle Billy going home."

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    Graham reached more than 200 million people through his appearances, including massive stadium events that he called crusades, and millions more through his pioneering use of television and radio. He was highly influential, appearing on Gallup's list of the "Ten Most Admired Men in the World" 60 times over the course of his life.

    "There was nobody like him!" President Donald Trump said Wednesday in a tweet. "He will be missed by Christians and all religions. A very special man."
  2. Update Feb 22, 2018 10:39 AM EST: The Rev. Billy Graham will lie in honor at the U.S. Capitol for two days next week, House Speaker Paul Ryan said Thursday.

    In a news release from Ryan's office, officials said Graham will be brought to the Capitol on Feb. 28, where he will lie until March 1.

    In a joint letter to Graham's son, Franklin Graham, Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said they aimed to recognize "Rev. Graham's long and distinguished service to the nation."
  3. Update Feb 21, 2018 8:35 PM EST: The Rev. Billy Graham will be laid to rest next Friday in a private funeral service in Charlotte, North Carolina. First, though, his body will be transported in a motorcade from the Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove in Asheville to the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association in Charlotte on Sat., Feb. 24 for a private family viewing. On Monday and Tuesday next week, Graham will lie in in repose at the Graham Family Homeplace in Charlotte for a public viewing. His funeral and burial at the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte is scheduled for next Fri., March 2.
  4. BBC News reported that, although Graham was ambivalent at first, he preached against segregation during the Civil Rights Movement. He sometimes appeared with the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., though he disliked public protests and stayed away from landmark events like the March on Washington, according to Politico.

    Graham served as spiritual counsel for a dozen presidents but kept his distance from the evangelical political movement, according to The New York Times.

    “If I get on these other subjects, it divides the audience on an issue that is not the issue I’m promoting,” he told the Times in 2005, while preparing for his last crusade in America. “I’m just promoting the Gospel.”
  5. In 1983, President Reagan gave Graham the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America's highest civilian honor. When the Billy Graham Museum and Library was dedicated in 2007 in Charlotte, former Presidents George H.W. Bush, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton attended.

    "When he prays with you in the Oval Office or upstairs in the White House, you feel he's praying for you, not the president," Clinton said at the ceremony.

    He became friends with then-Vice President Richard Nixon during President Dwight Eisenhower's time in office and was Nixon’s first overnight guest after he was sworn in as president in 1969, according to The Los Angeles Times. Their friendship would prove problematic in 2002, during the release of a set of recordings from 1972 in which Graham could be heard telling the Nixon that Jews “don’t know how I really feel about what they’re doing to this country.”

    He later apologized for the comments.
  6. Graham was known as "America's pastor," but he also had a huge global following through his radio and television ministry. Unlike many traditional evangelists, he abandoned narrow fundamentalism to engage broader society.

    "Billy Graham's ministry for the gospel of Jesus Christ and his matchless voice changed the lives of millions," Vice President Mike Pence said Wednesday in a statement. "We mourn his passing but I know with absolute certainty that today we heard those words, 'well done good and faithful servant.'"
  7. Graham was born on a dairy farm in Charlotte, North Carolina, on Nov. 7, 1918. He became a committed Christian in 1934, when he was 15 years old, after hearing a traveling evangelist, and became an ordained minister in 1939.

    He gained national attention in 1949, when he held a two-month long crusade in Los Angeles, and preached until his retirement in 2005. His last crusade was held in New York City in 2005 and gained the sponsorship of more than 1,400 regional churches from 82 denominations, USA Today reported.

    He was 87 years old at the time, but his message remained strong, WSBTV reported.

    “The only bright horizon I see today is the coming again of Christ," Graham said in 2005, according to the news station. "I believe He is coming back."

    Graham founded the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association in 1950, and through the group started a weekly radio program, "Hour of Decision," that was broadcast worldwide for more than six decades. He also started television programs that continue to be broadcast on Christian networks across the nation today.
  8. The Associated Press contributed to this report.